First, our congratulations to Bea on the birth of her granddaughter several weeks ago! She visited the office for the first time yesterday and we were happy to meet her.
This summer, the Joes have visited several National Parks, including Badlands, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, & Glacier. During the most recent visit, to Wyoming & Montana, the impact of Covid-19 on a “fully open” economy was evident.
The appetite for travel is extremely high, with many restaurants and other stores telling us they had never seen higher demand. At the same time, their capacity to meet the demand remains limited. Many businesses had posted signs seeking additional employees, some with hiring bonuses of hundreds of dollars. When checking bags at the Kalispell airport, there was one agent handling 3 flights worth of baggage. She explained that Covid-related issues had 6 employees unavailable for work.
In addition to the current strain on hospitals and front-line workers, Covid continues to reduce economic capacity. We hope there is more motivation for increased vaccinations as the data shows much better outcomes when breakthrough cases occur (and which remain a very small percentage of new cases).
For a review of a turbulent July, the month-end market recap is available here and Brad McMillan’s market thoughts video is here.